Editing mentorships target diverse new writers

March 5, 2018 | Cultural Fund

Mascara Literary Review and Western Sydney literary collective Sweatshop are launching two editing mentorships as part of a new two-year project to upskill emerging writers from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The Editing Mentorships for Equality program, which is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, will offer two emerging editors from Western Sydney the opportunity to be trained in all aspects of editing and production, under the supervision of Mascara’s senior editors.

Shirley Le and Winnie Dunn have been chosen as the two recipients of the mentorships, which will run in 2018 and 2019. The mentees will be supervised by senior editors for a China Transnational issue and Class Fetish issue.

Artistic director and managing editor of Mascara, Michelle Cahill, says “The rationale behind the mentorships is to upskill emerging writers of colour to be confident and proficient in an industry where the majority of editors, agents and publishers are white.”

“There is an urgent strategic need for professional skills development and capacity building for writers who cross socio-economic hurdles or those whose culture and language is considered foreign,” Ms Cahill says.

Winnie Dunn, who is also a manager and editor at Sweatshop, says she hopes to “…learn more about editing in the writing industry, as it’s so rare to work with people of colour who are writers [and] editors.” She will work with Jo Langdon for the issue on class fetish.

Shirley Le, who will be mentored by Michelle Cahill for the China Transnational issue, said she is looking forward to gaining editing skills across literary fiction and creative nonfiction forms. “While there are a growing number of literary voices in the Vietnamese diaspora, few are also editors,” Le says.

From left: Mascara Literary Review’s Jo Langdon and Michelle Cahill will mentor Shirley Le and Winnie Dunn (Sweatshop).

This article originally appeared in Books + Publishing on 12 February 2018 and is reprinted with permission.

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